[noteworthy] “Trademark”

In honor of Relient K’s newest album Collapsible Lung, I’ve been rocking some classic Relient K tracks. One of my favorites is “Trademark” from the album Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…but Three Do. It’s one of those songs where every time I hear it…it’s all I can think about for a while. One of the lyrics that plays on repeat in my head is, “It seems if my ties with You get severed I can’t seem to hold a thing together/I just fall apart, ’cause that’s my trademark.”

I have a really bad habit of doing this yo-yo thing with Jesus. That sounds like some kind of fun game, but really it’s a miserable cycle with lots of me disappointing myself. I get comfortable and complacent with where my relationship with Him is, then it’s like I forget that faith is a work in progress. It’s like any other relationship – it takes nurturing and time…time spent together…time in confidence. When I get in the place of realizing that I’m slipping away…I always think, “There you go again, Caitlyn. Classic you.” It’s my trademark move.

“It’s my, my trademark move/To realize I should improve
And sometime soon after that You’ll see me come crawlin’ back.”

Sing it, Relient K. Sing. It.

I always catch myself in a moment where I don’t feel like myself. I realize I can be better…that I AM better and go crawling back. I have this image of God standing there with His arms out and this look on His face. The look isn’t disappointment or annoyance…He’s not angry with me. It’s more like a “we’ve been here before” look. I don’t even know how to describe it.

So, what is it?

“I’ll kill the thing that turns me away/Amputate the arm that will disobey/Withdraw from everything that’s hurting me/Until You finish Your work in me”

There comes a point in everyone’s faith walk where they can identify what it is that pulls them away from God. It’s different for everyone. Sometimes it’s temptations and addictions. Other times, we find idols and other ways of trying to replace God in our lives. We realize that there’s nothing big enough to outweigh the place God has in our hearts and lives and we run back home. There’s this stuff that’s weighing us down and pulling us away from Him.

So, we cut it out. When I was a youth intern, we talked about cutting out the bad influences (music, movies, TV shows, etc.) Sometimes these things are hard to quit cold turkey. Been there, my friends. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can handle it because it’s just that entertaining. This is something I cycle with, too. If I’m listening to music and watching movies or TV shows with bad influences all at the same point in my life it can be overwhelming and I have to cut a few things out. Again, that’s something that’s different for everyone. I have friends who won’t watch anything that’s not honoring God and I have other friends who don’t even understand the concept of honoring God with what you watch. I’m not going to tell people that God doesn’t want them listening to bad music. I don’t know what God wants. I think it’s what we do after we listen to it or watch it that matters…the effect it has on our minds.

So, that’s my trademark move. Slip away, come back, repeat. Sure would be easier if I could cut out the slipping away part, huh?

Work in progress. No one’s perfect.

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a lesson on architecture.

{Yeah…you knew I couldn’t stay away for long!}

I remember hearing a speaker debunk the term “cornerstone.” I remember thinking about Coldstone Creamery everytime he said “cornerstone.” Nothing can distract you like ice cream.

A cornerstone is a foundation stone. It’s the first stone set in the foundation, in a structure. So everything revolves around this one stone. How the entire structure is set is based on the placement of this one stone. If it’s tilted or off by even a little bit – the whole structure suffers.

Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith. Ephesians 2:20 says, “Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself (NLT). Paul wouldn’t write that the whole Christian faith was dependent upon the placement of the one Jesus if He wasn’t solidly, firmly planted…a firm foundation. No amount of weight or heavy storm can sway this Cornerstone. He is unmoving – firmly planted. Those built on this Cornerstone rely on His steadfastness.

The old hymn “The Solid Rock” tells of being supported during the storms of life, when floods overwhelm. It talks of hope being built on His righteousness. “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.” As a part-English major…the imagery and metaphors in this hymn bring a smile to my face. There’s no house of temptation, no structure of self-reliance, or any kind of brick and mortar life that can sustain your life like the frame built on the one and true Cornerstone. Nothing stems from this base that can be moved.

The way a cornerstone is for a structure, an anchor is to a ship. Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” (NIV). An anchor may be out in the ocean, but when it’s set in the ocean floor, it’s not going anywhere. It digs in and sets up shop until the ship is ready to move along.

“In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”

Life moves on around me so quickly that I have to stop and catch my breath sometimes. I get lost in the storm and make decisions that I regret just because I have no idea what’s going on! I hate feeling out of control. While the world may spin on, He’s there…waiting for me. Cool, calm and collected. Talk, dark, and handsome. No? …why not? My anchor holds… The one holding me down – holding me together – holds strong. He doesn’t let go…doesn’t move…isn’t swayed. He’s standing firm and sure.

Hillsong United’s song “Cornerstone” uses the hymn I talked about before and adds a new chorus. I can’t tell you how often I listen to this song. I love the acoustic (chapel) version, too. I especially love the lyric, “…weak made strong in the Savior’s love.” I am weak. I am so weak. But in the Savior’s love, alone, I am strong. When I recognize the Cornerstone my hope is founded upon, my strength is there. All other ground is sinking sand. 

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a reaction to a rap movement.

I stole this from Instagram. This was taken by Andy Mineo (@andymineo).

I’m probably the least reliable blogger in the blogosphere. I write when I have something to write about. I feel like that’s better than just writing for the purpose of writing…maybe that’s just me.

This weekend, I had the privilege to attend a concert on my college campus. I attend the University of Texas at Arlington (Go Mavs!) and we have a new arena on our campus that opened in March. We’ve hosted Drake, Passion Pit, Flo Rida, and soon we’ll have Rick Ross on our campus. I didn’t or don’t have tickets to any of those shows. My first concert in this new College Park Center was 116 and it’s a concert I’ll never forget.

The Unashamed tour consists of Christian artists such as Andy Mineo, KB, Derek Minor (formerly known as PRo), Trip Lee, Tedashii, and Lecrae. We’re talking about Christian rap, here. I’ve talked about these guys before in this post and also a bit here. If you aren’t familiar with the latest Christian rap movement, you’re thinking of some kind of hokey, groovy rap that is a thing of the past. These guys are completely in tune with different aspects of the rap culture, but are proclaiming the name of Jesus through their incredibly Biblical lyrics. At the concert, my friend and I would catch ourselves no longer jamming and rocking to the songs, but being still…just taking in the lyrics.

I’m still reeling from the incredible messages of hope and life that were shared on that stage. Also I’m still freaking out because it was such a great show…very entertaining to say the least. Those guys are all over the place…SO much energy that I could feel it up on the balcony.

6,500 people heard theoe messages + those 6,500 people went home or tweeted and shared those messages. That’s a movement, my friends.

One of my favorite moments from the concert was when Lecrae said something along the lines of (because I have a terrible memory..)

“If you live for their approval, you’ll die from their rejection.”

Our culture is all about making other people happy, and not in a way of serving them. Popular music, movies, TV shows, etc., tell us that our lives should focus on fitting a mold and, in the words of Trip Lee, being a robot. There is so much life to lose if we live like this.

One thing I noticed as these artists were sharing their stories is that none of them started with, “Oh, I grew up in church…I always tried to follow God’s commandments and be involved in every church activity….”. These guys have some real stories about things that I’ve never experienced before in my life. This morning at my church, they showed a video that talked about how most of the people we read about in the Bible weren’t perfect. I say most because a lot of the stories are about Jesus, who was perfect…so there’s that.

Our culture has come to this conclusion that Christians are great people who always do the right thing. I wish that was right, but it just isn’t. We aren’t good. GOD is good. As Christians, we should see people the way God sees them; love people the way God loves them; hunger for God the way He wants us to. God doesn’t use perfect people because THERE AREN’T ANY TO BE USED. We all have stories that can be used for God’s glory. Some of us are going through trials that only God’s grace can rescue us from and we aren’t quite to the storytelling part of our walk with God. Just know that His love never fails. He is able. Our God is mighty to save.

Now for some of my favorite jams from each of the artists on the tour:

Andy Mineo – KB – Derek Minor –  Trip Lee –  Tedashii – Lecrae

I would also really like for you to watch this video. You’ll enjoy it. Lecrae is dancing…that’s all I’m saying.

Here’s a list of the artists that work with Reach Records, which includes the artists on the Unashamed tour. You can get a lot of FREE MUSIC from these guys. Follow them on Twitter and you’ll find all kinds of links to download their music for free.

Have you seen any of these guys in concert? What’d you think?

a “wait…what?” moment.

“Well, Christian popular music is generally bad. And rap is generally bad. So that would make Christian rap doubly bad.”

When I first read this sentence, I literally laughed out loud. I took “LOL” to a whole ‘notha level. [This sentence was posted on a Yahoo! Answers page.]

“Christian popular music is generally bad.”

The word “bad” means “of poor quality”. So, I’m not sure if this person is saying that Christian popular music isn’t produced very well, the music isn’t entertaining, or the lyrics aren’t good. Also, it’s “generally” bad? Generally. Meaning mostly bad. For the most part, popular Christian music is bad.

Let’s do a little experiment, shall we? iTunes, away! Did you know that the Christian & Gospel genre has its own iTunes page? If it was generally bad and people generally didn’t listen to it, I don’t think iTunes would go through the trouble of making it its own page.

TobyMac currently holds both of the top 2 spots on the genre’s top albums chart. (This is because his latest album also has a deluxe edition.) How many years has TobyMac been on the Christian music scene? Like a billion? Just kidding. But seriously…a long time. If his music was generally bad, I don’t think he’d have been successful.

I know…I’m being Cynical Caitlyn again. I just hate that Christian music has such a bad rep! Christian music has made a huge impact on my life and I know a lot of people who would agree with that.

I know that a lot of people hear “Christian music” and they think of Steven Curtis Chapman or Michael W. Smith. Both of these men are incredibly talented and are cornerstones in the Christian music universe, but they sound very similar to each other and they’ve sounded the same for the last 25 years. Christian music is now as diverse as a popular, secular radio station.

Tenth Avenue North sounds nothing like Bethany Dillon. Lecrae sounds nothing like Hillsong. Chris August sounds nothing like Group 1 Crew. But unlike secular artists, these Christian artists all have one thing in common: Their music isn’t about them!

They’re not wanting to make more money, they want to further His kingdom!

So while you may not be a Michael W. Smith fan, you have hundreds of other options and no two of them sound the same. There’s nothing general about the Christian music world. These artists don’t even “generally” love God. They adore Him and it shows in their music.

“And rap is generally bad. So that would make Christian rap doubly bad.”

Secular rap is bad. I think it’s safe to utilize that “general” word in reference to secular rap music. Secular rap is generally irreverent, racist, sexist…need I say more? Christian rap music, however…is powerful. There are exceptions to this, after all. Karmin, for example, is one of my favorite groups.

It’s encouraging, uplifting, and heck…it makes you want to get up and do something with your life. I love Christian rap. I’ve written about the 116 Crew before. They’re actually going to be on my campus on October 27th of this year. [TobyMac will also be here on October 4th.]

Lecrae recently dropped a new album called “Gravity” and man…I literally can’t think of any words to describe it that would do it justice.

You’ll just have to listen to it for yourself! What do you think about this quote? Do you agree/disagree?

[noteworthy] “Like an Avalanche”

First of all, I’m from Texas. I’ve always lived in Texas. I am completely unfamiliar with avalanches. The closest I come to one is when I’m watching “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and they cause a racket which brings down a whole bunch of snow.

But I know what it’s like to be caught up in grace like an avalanche.

“Like an Avalanche” is probably one of my favorite Hillsong United songs. I love all of their music, but this song is so moving to me.

This song was written by Joel Houston and Dylan Thomas of Hillsong and when I was researching the lyrics and where the song came from, I found out that this song came after they’d given up on writing for the evening. They were writing song after song and all of a sudden, they’d written “Like an Avalanche”.

It’s almost as though this song wanted to be written.

I love the pictures that this song paints. Trading Your righteousness for shame, despite all my pride and foolish ways. What a vision! No matter how many times we mess up, it doesn’t erase the everlasting love that abounds in His righteousness. Praise God for that!

I love the overwhelming sense of being small. That may seem like a weird statement, but think about it. I have to be reminded that He is big and I am small. And I find myself here on my knees again, caught up in grace like an avalanche. On my knees AGAIN. Not, on my knees this one time because I’m so fantastic. Not, on my knees a little bit this one time. On my knees once again, here I am and Your love overwhelms me. Wow.

This is one of those songs that I listen to almost daily. I allow this song to consume me. The lyrics are so lovely, you know? They’re just…lovely. The words are so incredibly powerful.

Beautiful God. From darkness into light. King for a slave. Infinite embrace. This love..burning in my heart. Savior and friend. Your Word is the lamp unto my path. Forever I’m humbled by Your love.

Take my life, take all that I am. With all that I am, I will love You.

Take my heart, take all that I have. Jesus, how I adore You.

Every once and a while we all have to be reminded how to confess our love. Why is that so hard to do sometimes? Jesus, how I adore You; how I love You.

Nothing compares to this love, love, love – burning in my heart. 

[noteworthy] kids in the way.

I’m kicking it old school for this music post. Kids in the Way used to be my favorite band. They have some really amazing songs. I’m all about lyrics, so even if their music isn’t so much “my style” anymore, I love their lyrics.

“Lay me down in fields of green/This heart has seen things I never should have seen/You’re breaking my legs and teaching me”

There’s a theory that back in the day, when a sheep wandered away from the flock, the shepherd would track it down and break one of its legs to teach it a lesson. Some stories say that the shepherd would make a splint to put on the sheep’s leg and that he would carry the sheep over his shoulders back to the flock.

Matthew 18:12-14 says, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”

Although the leg-breaking theory isn’t in the Bible, it makes you wonder. Is the Good Shepherd one of these? Does he “allow” things to happen so that we learn? Is “allow” even a good word to use? The God I know is one that teaches lessons. I think some of our lessons hurt Him, especially when we’re making the wrong choices. But I don’t believe that He forces bad things to rain down upon us to “show us.” When bad things happen, we often say that “God hates us” or that “He’s punishing us.” God knows what’s best for us. Sometimes what’s best for us doesn’t feel so “best” to us.

According to this theory, after the leg heals, the sheep will stay beside the shepherd for the rest of its life. It won’t ever go astray again.

After we go through a trial and God brings us out of it and into the light….do we stay beside Him forever? Do we stay loyal?

Job 5:18 says, “For He wounds, but He binds up; He shatters, but His hands heal.”

I love that this song makes me think. I love the thought of God finding me in my wandering and bringing me home. That’s why I love this song.

Kids in the Way albums are a staple in my road trip playlists.

-Caitlyn

Other favorites from this artist: “Phoenix With a Heartache”, “Scars that Save”, “Apparitions of Melody” and “Stars Fall On.”

[noteworthy] christy nockels.

[Don’t be fooled. The video says it has the lyrics…but it doesn’t.]

My favorite song this week was “By Our Love” by Christy Nockels from her album “Life Light Up.”

I’m sure this won’t be the last you’ll see of Christy Nockels on my blog.

I actually own this album and recently decided to put it on shuffle and enjoy. Man, did I enjoy! Christy Nockels has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard. Her voice is beautifully clear and passionate. I especially love her live tracks on the last few “Passion” albums.

The lyrics and melody for this song are both really simple, yet really powerful. I love simple songs; sometimes they have the most effect.

“The time is now/Come church, arise/Love with His hands, see with His eyes/Bind it around you/Let it never leave you/And they will know us by our love.”

I think one of the main reasons this song impacted me is because of how it relates to my latest post. The church is meant to LOVE God’s people! The church has a reputation of  blatant hypocrisy, strict rules and uptight morals. People should look at the church and see the love of God being put on display! The church is more than a building; the church is a body of believers.

What are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them to judge and look down upon non-Christians and even our brothers and sisters?

I hope they’ll be known for their love. The time is now. Come, church – arise.

-Caitlyn

Other favorites from this album: “A Mighty Fortress”, “Song of the Beautiful” and “Hosanna.”

1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God…”

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

*I needed something to do every week. I have a few people that I send my favorite songs to or that ask me for some good music suggestions, so I thought this would be a good place to start! Let me know if you like the idea of posting a song every week.

a call to man up. [this one’s for the boys]

I’m kind of addicted to this song right now. And I love the music video. These men of God are some of the most powerful voices of our generation. They’re not some hood rat rappers. They’re not spinning noise. These are some powerful, Bible-driven words of power.

Obviously I’m not a boy. Or a man-boy. Or a man-child, what have you. But girls saving their hearts and boys manning-up is a two-way street. Can you imagine how incredible a Christ-centered relationship could be if girls waited and boys became men? Just thinking about how much that would honor God gives me chills.

I also really enjoy all the movie references in this song…that has nothing to do with anything…it’s just how my thought process works.

[Let me take you back to the tree in Eden, if you read it you’ll see that Eve was deceived but Adam is the one who let it in.] If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll known how much I love the story of Adam and Eve. I have a few posts about it that I’ll link here. And here. I’ve always wondered why Adam didn’t man up and slap that apple right out of Eve’s hand and slingshot the serpent right out of that garden. I’m adding that to the list of questions I’ll be asking when I get to Heaven.

One of my favorite lines in this song is [Get up out of the treehouse leave the cookies alone it’s/Time to eat meat now]. Not only does it make me laugh a little bit, but that’s so scriptural!

Hebrews 5:12 says, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” Man-up means taking up your cross and teaching others: encouraging your brothers in Christ and also the women of noble character that He puts in your life. A man of God moves on from the basics of the Word and digs deeper. A man of God isn’t satisfied with picture books, but seeks scriptural evidence and guidance.

116 is so passionate about young people (both boys and girls) stepping up and being unashamed of the Gospel, which is the whole idea behind 116.

Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Boom. What about you? Are you unashamed? Would you consider yourself to be a part of this movement? Or are you standing in the crowd, just clapping and nodding along?

[we’re the last of a dying breed/it’s time that we man up]

I would also encourage you to read the comments on this video’s YouTube page. Some of them are encouraging. Some of them are heartbreaking.

-Caitlyn

Listening to: “Man Up” album by 116


a love song. [this one’s for the girls]

This is a love song to my husband.

But Caitlyn, you’re not married, I hear you cry. Yes. Yes, I know. But I know that’s part of God’s plan for my life. I pray for my future husband daily. It’s not like I wake up saying, Ah, yes..pray for my husband. It’s more like..I pray for him when I do something stupid or have “one of those days”..knowing that he’ll have to deal with me someday, poor guy.

This is one of those songs that I’ve taken and morphed to mean what I want it to mean. That’s okay, folks. It’s okay. Brooke could have some wonderful reasoning behind this song, but here’s my interpretation and its application to the World of Caitlyn.

If I were capable of writing songs…I think I would have written this one. This song is a lot like a story. It starts out watching and wishing: [I watch as lovers pass me by/Walking stories, who’s and how’s and why’s] I know I’ve done this. I’m a hardcore people watcher. I love watching how people interact with each other; it’s fascinating to me. I’ve actually played that game with my dad before where we imagine what people are saying and invent conversations (which is also fun to do while watching a Spanish soap opera.) I want to be on the other side of that scenario someday; I want someone watching my husband and I and wondering what our love story is like.

[Musing lazily on love – pondering you] That’s probably my favorite line. Girls, we do this all the time.  We think about how our love story will play out. We plan our weddings. Plum will be the color at mine. (Pinterest isn’t helping this..by the way.) We name our children. I’ll have an Annabeth Rose. We plan and scheme all day, but then we realize how lonely all those plans are: that someone’s missing.  [Love is waiting ’til we’re ready/’til it’s right] I’m not just talking about the ol’ purity type of waiting, here. Although, that’s a huge part of it. Our hearts also need to wait. If we jump into every relationship that presents itself, thinking he’s our Prince Charming…we’ll have a lot of baggage with us at the altar on our wedding day.

[I could write a million songs about the way you same my name/I could live a lifetime with you and then do it all again/But like I can’t force the sun to rise or hasten summer’s start/Neither should I rush my way into your heart] I smile every time I hear that line. Save as much of your heart as you can. Think about guys you’re dating as some girl’s future husband, if he isn’t yours.

The Christ love song equivalent to this one is, “You’ll Come” by Hillsong…which is ironically also sung by Brooke Fraser. It’s currently my favorite worship song for many reasons.

All the single ladies

Pray for your husband every day. Even if you’re going through that, “(humph) I’ll never get married,” phase – pray for your husband. Pray for the fact that he’ll have to sort out your insecurities one day, God bless him. Pray because he’ll be the head of your house. Pray for your husband because hopefully he’s praying for you.

My prayer is that the chains of worldly dating rules will be broken. Eyes will be opened. Christ will be revealed. He’ll come.

Will you join me in praying for a patient heart?

-Caitlyn

Reading: “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris

[noteworthy] i know the rain is coming.

After spending the weekend at the corner of No and Where, I was unbelievably aware of the heat. Yes, I know it has been hot all summer. For some reason, while spending the weekend at a camp ground with my fellow campus tour guides, telecounselors and admissions assistants, the heat was ridiculous. I started thinking about the drought those of us in the South have suffered this summer. I thought about how our land is dry and aching for rain, how crops are dying and animals are coming into towns in search of water. It made me think of the drought in our souls. Then, I heard these lyrics from Jesus Culture, “I believe You will come like the rain”.

We are both figuratively and literally in need of rain. Our souls are dry and weary, send Your healing rain, Father! Fill us with Your love and mercy so we may pour out on Your people! I’ve felt empty and dry before and when His love abounds, it’s like smelling rain on the wind.

“I believe You will come like the rain!” After months of staring at the clouds, the first drop of rain made me want to run outside and bask in the glory of the Lord. He is faithful! “Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.” [Isaiah 45:8 ESV]

I love this verse in any variation. God commands the rain to fall and revive our thirsty land and hearts! That revival brings salvation and righteousness that spreads like wildfire…except…a good kind of wildfire! From our hearts, passion arises! As Christians, the Holy Spirit resides in us and when we are revived and renewed, He moves and shakes! God is a prime example of a mover and shaker, for sure.

“My soul longs for You/Nothing else will do”. Is there any replacement for a good rain storm on our lands? No. We can use sprinklers all day, but that’s not going to have the breadth to cover every patch of grass, all the time. What’s something in your life that you use to temporarily fill that void? The void that only the Father can fill. Beg Him to come like the rain and fill you up!

“So let it rain!” This was the first week of the semester for me and a new ministry has come to campus called InterVarsity. I’ve never been more excited to be apart of something like this group in my entire life. God’s going to bring the rain. He will come in love and mercy. He is faithful to every promise. My cry out to God is just that, “Let it rain!” I believe He will come like the rain. He is mighty to save.

-Caitlyn

Listening to: